The Gate Keeper
Since the end of the Great War, Inspector Ian Rutledge has barely managed to hold memories of the trenches at bay. Two constants have buoyed him: his police work and his only sister, Frances. But he’s just given Frances away in marriage, and while he wishes her every happiness, he cannot shake a deepening sense of loss.
Unable to sleep, Rutledge decides to take a short drive. Hours later he’s far from London in dark, unfamiliar countryside. The war, which he’d kept rigorously in check all day, overwhelms him, and he has only a vague impression of the road unwinding before him. In a particularly desolate stretch, he’s jolted out of his nightmare when his headlamps suddenly pick out a motorcar stopped in the middle of the road, and he narrowly misses it. Standing next to the vehicle is a woman in evening dress, with blood on her hands and a dead man at her feet.
She swears she didn’t kill Stephen Wentworth, telling Rutledge that a stranger stepped in front of their motorcar and without warning fired a single shot before vanishing into the night. But Rutledge can find no trace of this man or the weapon. Rutledge persuades the Yard to give him the inquiry, but even he isn’t sure whether he’s seeking justice—or fleeing the emptiness that awaits him back in London.
Probing the victim’s background, the Inspector uncovers conflicting views of the dead man. Wentworth appears to have been well liked by most people, yet his bitter family paint a malevolent portrait, calling Wentworth a murderer. But who, exactly, did Wentworth kill? Is his death retribution for that crime? Or has his dinner partner lied?
When a second suspicious death occurs, the evidence suggests a dangerous predator on the loose, carefully stalking his victims. But where is he . . . ?